Svante Nilsson was born somewhere around 1460 from parents Nils Bosson Sture and Birgitta Karlsdotter Bonde, both members of the most prominent nobility. He was related to Karl Knutsson Bonde, a man who was elected King of Sweden no less than three times.
This was a time of shifting loyalties and fragile alliances.
During the years of the union between Denmark, Sweden and Norway, many battles were waged and towns and strongholds burned. The seat of power wavered between the Danish court and strong noble families in Sweden who preferred a Swedish regent on the throne in opposition to the union.
Svante Nilsson Sture became a major player in this struggle and fought on both sides of the conflict, sometimes supporting sometimes opposing the Danish claim of the Swedish throne.
Being a member of the high council from 1482; he was finally elected Regent of Sweden at the death of his old adversary, the powerful and dynamic Sten Sture the Elder in the year 1504.
Svante Nilsson Sture is enigmatic and fascinating: shrewd politician, bold warrior and struggling diplomat. From him we have a legacy of one of the finest late medieval fighting swords in existance in Sweden today.
The original rests in the museum of Västerås Cathedral, where Svante Nilsson Sture was buried in January, 1512.
When Svante Sture's grave was opened in 1958, during a restoration of the cathedral, his sword was discovered with his body.
It is one of very few swords that have been found in Swedish medieval graves, let alone that of a prominent historical person.
It is also an important find from an international perspective, in particular because of the unusual shape of its blade. Even though the sword is now in part badly corroded, it is clearly a high-quality weapon of war.
It has a total length of 117.5 cm and weighs around 1.8 kg. The grip is long, giving ample space for both hands. However, with a point of balance some 9 cm from the cross, it handles well with one hand only.
Though the Svante sword looks almost delicate in photographs, it is actually a very large and imposing sword, carrying a lot of authority -- a true warrior's sword of the period, made for fighting, not display. The sword has an unusually powerful blade, and yet is surprisingly maneuverable and quick for its size
Stylistically-related swords are most frequently depicted in art from the 1490s to the mid-1520s.
One close parallel might be the sword of St. George in a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder, from 1506.